Brisas Guardalavaca

Holguin Cuba


 

 GUARDALAVACA & BEYOND

 

Hotels in the area are:-   Blau Costa Verde, Serinis Playa Turquesa, Sol Rio Luna y Mares, Paradisus Rio de Oro, Playa Costa Verde, Playa Pesquero,  Amigo & Atlantico & Brisas Guardalavaca.  These Hotels are usually classified as being in the Holguin Province by Travel Companies.
 
The Brisas and the Amigo Hotels are situated in Guardalavaca, all other hotels are situated on either Playa Esmeralda or Playa Pesquero a short distance away ~ all Pesquero and Esmeralda resorts offer a chargeable daily landtrain or bus service into Guardalavaca village (approx 5 CUC's).


Guardalavaca is a small local village with an amazing beach that boasts clear turquoise waters and powder soft white sand.  On the beach you will find bars and cafebars frequented by locals and tourists alike, grab the opportunity to sit and chat to people or perhaps watch a game of dominoes whilst enjoying an ice cold beer and a bite to eat.  Be sure to take your swimming attire with you as you will get extremely hot and be unable to resist a refreshing dip in the beautiful ocean. 

 

 Guardalavaca "Public" Beach

  

Guardalavaca hosts the daily craft market with its few bars and cafebars.  The market is quite small and vendors change daily so if you see something you like buy it there and then as you may never see it again!  Typically you will find homemade wooden crafts, jewellery, paintings, a small selection of clothing and hats, along with CD’s and Tee-shirts etc.  All wooden crafts are made to come apart for ease of packing so no souvenir is too large to take home but do watch the weight and remember hefty charges are applied to all overweight luggage upon departure from Cuba.

 

A Bar at Guardalavaca Market ~ The Public beach is just beyond here

 

 
Los Flamboyanes shops & 24hr Pizza bar are situated along the main road (not a great deal to buy at the shops but maybe worth a look).  You can also explore the local area by foot, horse riding, horse & buggy hire, bicycle, moped etc. The Horse & Buggy rides offer you a 45 minute trip around the immediate locality for approx 15 CUC's, it’s a nice photo opportunity and a chance to see the local way of life.

 

You can take a pleasant walk along the back road from Brisas, it’s a nice little 'coastal walk' where you will pass the fisherman’s dock and their houses, the locals will come out and talk to you and probably ask for something from you, a pleasant "sorry I don’t have" will suffice!   

Back Road From Brisas

 

Some locals will invite you to return to their homes for a dinner cooked personally for you, this is quite normal and food will usually be fresh and locally sourced.  If you require seafood your dinner will be "caught to order", obviuosly payment is expected!!  you could always take a bottle of rum or some beers to share with your hosts.

 


All Hotels offer a mid-morning open-top bus service into Guardalavaca, the bus then continues on through local roads and villages to the Indian Village where you will see a reinactment of how the Tainos came to settle in Cuba, the show is a little cheesy but fun and nice for a couple of hours escapism from the resort.  The scenic bus trip offers some wonderful photo opportunities of local countryside, plantations, homes and an insight into the Cuban way of life and for this reason alone is a must do!  Cost is approx 5 CUC's for the bus and just a couple of pesos entrance for the Indian Village.

 


Some hotels offer a small excursion by landtrain that takes you into the local fishing village of Boca de Sama where you will visit a farmers plantation and sample some of its produce, you may also visit a local school or clinic (trips can differ).  The trip is interesting and is great to escape the resort life for a couple of hours, cost is approx 10 CUC's per person.  Ask Hotel reception for details.

 

NIGHTLIFE:-

Whilst there isnt a great amount to do off resort on an evening Brisas offers you the option to escape resort life for some local partying or dining.  If you visit the Guardalavaca Public beach on an evening you will likely find the atmosphere somewhat more vibrant to the daytime...  Guests from the Amigo hotel, Locals and local tourists get-together for beach parties ~ the bars are open, music is playing, people are dancing upon the sand, everyone is happy - what a great way to meet new people and form new friendships.  

 

 

 

OFF RESORT DINING:-

Just along the public beach you will see the El Ancla restaurant sat upon the ledge.   El Ancla opens 11am-11pm & specialises in seafood meals at a reasonable price and offers  inside airconditioned dining or dining "al fresco",  the coastal setting there is beautiful and if you get to El Ancla in the early evening (7pm ish) you will be able to catch some amazing shots of the sun setting over the ocean.  El Ancla specialises in seafood dishes and prices are reasonable.  No reservation is necessary. El Ancla is accessible by taxi.

 

El Ancla - Great Views; A  scenic place to drink or eat

 

 

Local Paladares (Private restaurants in peoples homes/gardens)

New private enterprise laws for Cubans have now paved the way for Cubanos to set up their own business; many are trying their best at targeting the Tourist Trade and paladares are on a rapid increase.. Undoubtedly; eating at a paladar will offer you great hospitality and will hopefully produce some of the finest cuisine you will ever have the pleasure of eating in Cuba, a great escape from resort.

Locally to Brisas there are many new superb paladares in operation so it is difficult to make any specific recommendations as they change from time to time.... If you would like personal recommendations of some of the best places to eat then feel free to message me anytime. (brisasg@hotmail.co.uk)

 

 

Yaguajay/Guardalavaca

 

Tucked into the hills of the Banes zone (which includes Guardalavaca) are 96 archaeological sites from the Native American groups that once populated the area. 

 

Museo el Chorro de Maita  represents the largest and most important discovery of a Native American cemetery in  Cuba.  The community dates from 1490 to 1540, the burial ground contains the remarkably well-preserved remains of 108 Taino men, women and children (62 are on display), including a single Spaniard, most likely a friar, whose body is his shin, several skulls are deformed, a beautification practice that involved applying two pieces of wood to the head with ropes. 

Found among the remains were Spanish ceramics, and jewellery and objects crafted from old, copper, coral and quartz; many are displayed in the cases. 

 

 

Aldea Taina (The Indian Village   Across the street from the Museo El Chorro de Maita is Aldea Taina (The Indian Village)  a re-creation of a native Arawakan Indian Village that features models of native dwellings and life-size, clay-figure Native Americans performing tasks.  It shows the cultural practices of a long-extinct culture.  The highlight for most visitors is the live show of Native American dances and rituals performed by “Native women going..... Native!".  In the village is a restaurant selling drinks and some items that were staples of the Taino diet.  The village is open daily from 9am-5pm.  You can take the daily open top tour bus from your resort to the Indian Village; approx costs are 5 CUC for the bus and 3-5CUC’s per person entry to the Indian Village. 

 

 

BANES 

This old sugar town is just north of the Bahia de Banes.  The 33km road from Guardalavaca to Banes winds between bohios (Taino language for homes) and royal palms through the Maniabon Hills – a really beautiful and scenic trip.   Banes (i dont think) is worthy of a day trip alone, it is best to combine with other interests.

 

History of Banes

Banes is best known for its unlikely association with the towering figures of 20th century Cuba.  Fulgencio Batista, whose government the rebels deposed in 1959, was born here in 1901.  Fidel Castro and his brother Raul were born nearby in Biran. 

Fidel married the daughter of the conservative mayor of Banes in 1948 at the small Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Caridad, on a plaza at the edge of the park. (They divorced six years later!). 

Of perhaps greater significance in town is the Museo Indocubano (Av. General Marreo 305),  specialising exclusively in Cuba’s pre-Columbian history.  Its small but rich collection of Indian artefacts are among the best in Cuba; among the 20,000 items or so, exhibits include fragments of ceramics,  jewellery tools and a valuable 13thCentury gold “ Idol of Banesa”,  just 4 centimetres high;  which was unearthed near Banes. 

 

 

GIBARA 

A sleepy, charming early 19th century port, home to a number of fine colonial-style buildings.  The town today is a modest little fishing village’ has great scenery overlooking a wide natural bay and a very tranquil atmosphere.  Two little beaches and a promenade line the picturesque bay.  Inland is the Silla de Gibara, a flat- topped mountain that locals claim is the hill described by Columbus when he first found Cuba. 

Farther east on the top of Los Caneyes hill are the ruins of an old fortress – a 30 minute walk up the hill will reward you with most excellent views of the town and bay.  There is no public transport to Gibara but it’s easy to take a cab there and back. (perhaps consider to combine this with a half day trip to Holguin city and then to Gibara)

Gibara houses a few museums (history and arts, closed between noon & 1pm), cigar factory.  Iglesia de San Fuelgencio (1850)  The Statue of Liberty, commemorates the 2nd War of Independence.  On the western side of the square is a beautiful colonial Palace. 

There are many restaurants, casa’s and Paladares (private homes) offering good food in Gibara, some ideally located over-looking the bay. 

Gibara hosts the annual Film Festival in April. 

 

HOLGUIN CITY

The provincial capital, officially called San Isidoro de Holguin, may be known across Cuba as the city of parks” but it doesn’t get to welcome many tourists other than excursions. 

Holguin is a pleasant but unremarkable city with only a handful of attractions.  Still, it makes for a half day trip for resort visitors who would otherwise see nothing of Cuba. 

Holguin, the fourth largest city in Cuba has a compact centre that is easy enough to get around.  The majority of the city’s buildings date from 19th century.  Look in on the main square for its Art-Deco theatre, art gallery and display of historical exhibits inside the Museo Provincial.

The Carlos de la Torre Natural History Museum, just south of the square on Calle Maceo, in another colonial mansion, has a large collection of indigenous snail shells in dazzling colours. 

Parque Calixto Garcia (also called Parque central) represents the heart of the city.  Tribute is paid to the hero of the Wars of Independence by a large marble statue in the parks centre.  Two nearby churches of note are the domed Iglesia de San Jose which has an unusual baroque interior to go with its remade neoclassical facade.  The imposing La Catedral de San Isidoro de Holguin (18th century) features carved wooden ceilings (Mudejar). 

Of special note in Holguin is the unusual Famillia Cuayo de Organos, a studio that still produces handmade air-compression organs (organos pneumaticos) with hand-cut music sheets and restores musical instruments; perhaps the very last of a rare breed!  Eighteen workers make only four organs a year.  A large organ costs about $25,000.  You can drop in during business hours at carreterra a Gibara 301; someone is sure to give you a look around.  (Tel 24/42-4162). 

La Loma de Cruz (hill of the Cross) with its stunning views across the City of Holguin is worth a visit and can be ascended by its 450 stairs!!!!  It can also be accessed by vehicular traffic!  There is a cafe bar for light refreshments or a meal at Loma de la Cruz.

 

 

Why not join us on our FACEBOOK PAGE - Brisas Guardalavaca Cuba:-

  https://www.facebook.com/groups/305494449624475/359093504264569/?notif_t=group_comment   

 

 

 

                                                  

 

 

 

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